Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Pharmacy Technician

PCC pharm tech program

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Start your future in healthcare at the crossroads where treatment, medicine, insurance, and patients connect.

The Job

Pharmacy Technicians (or Pharm Techs) are in high demand across the United States, and in Oregon. Pharmacy Technicians are often the person greeting customers at a pharmacy setting, whether its in a big box retailer or a small store setting. Pharmacy Technicians are knowledgeable about pharmacy systems and settings and are champions of customer service. Do you want an in-demand career where you can take pride in working directly with patients to deliver medications and provide excellent customer service? Become a Pharmacy Technician and help patients by validating prescriptions and preparing medications!

As a pharmacy technician, you will:

  • Process and handle medications and instruct patients in their use
  • Review prescription requests with doctors’ offices and insurance companies to ensure accuracy and payment
  • Manage pharmaceutical inventory, health records, ordering and billing

After successfully completing the Pharmacy Technician program, you will be fully prepared to sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) and begin a rewarding career working with pharmaceuticals.

The Pay.
The number of jobs for pharmacy technicians is expected to increase in the coming years and the average wage is nearly $20 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Demand for qualified healthcare professionals is growing as the baby boomer population ages, seeking medications to treat common ailments, and as new prescription drugs are approved and released to the American public.

Upward Mobility.
Internship and career planning opportunities are available to you through referral to PCC’s Career Pathways, which offers you:

  • Career planning during Term II of the Pharmacy Technician program. You will complete a tailored resume, develop a networking plan, and prepare for non-technical aspects of internship and employment.
  • Externship or internship immediately after completing the Pharmacy Technician program, 120 hours supported with coaching. You will receive job placement support, referrals, and connections to employers.

Additional Cost to Student: $670, over 2 terms

The Program

The Institute for Health Professionals’ Pharmacy Technician program is a 2-part course, totaling 160 hours. Combine online lectures with hands-on, weekly onsite lab practicums in order to gain a broad knowledge base that will prepare you to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).

You must submit an application to be considered for admission into this program. Only individuals who meet or exceed the minimum requirements listed in the How to Enroll section of the application and submit a complete application packet will be considered for admission. Please carefully read over the requirements before applying.

In Term I, students will learn about:

  • Practicing pharmacy, pharmacy law, and regulations
  • Practical and administrative standards
  • Basic pharmacology, therapeutic drug classes, body systems, common conditions, diseases, and related medical terminology
  • Generic versus brand drug names, look-alike and sound-alike medications, common dosages, and routes of administration
  • Drug references and information systems
  • Basic to advanced pharmacy measurements, abbreviations, and calculations
  • Requirements for passing the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

In Term II (PREREQ: Term I), students will focus on:

  • Pharmacology
  • Basic to advanced pharmacy measurements, abbreviations, and calculations
  • Learning to read and identify components of medication labels, written and electronic prescriptions, and DEA numbers
  • Processing and handling medication and medication orders
  • Sterile and non-sterile compounding, sterile preparation, and aseptic techniques
  • Inventory management, ordering systems, billing, and electronic health-records systems
  • Patient safety, medication safety, and quality assurance
  • Workplace interaction, professionalism, and other soft-skills
  • Test-taking strategies that will prepare you for board certification

At successful completion of both terms, students will be able to:

  • Sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)
  • Use appropriate medical terminology for drug names, classes, body systems, common conditions, and diseases in everyday duties
  • Read, identify, and utilize information on medication labels, prescriptions, and DEA numbers to process medications and apply practices of patient safety and quality assurance
  • Apply pharmacological concepts to the preparation and distribution of medications, including the calculation of pharmaceutical measurements, incorporating compounding, sterile preparation, and aseptic techniques
  • Recognize pharmacy technology, including inventory management, ordering, billing, and electronic health-records systems
  • Integrate appropriate workplace interactions, professionalism and other soft-skills necessary for long-term employment

Learn more about the application process, here: PCC-IHP Pharmacy Technician Application Process

The Investment

Time: 2 terms, 160 hours, approximately 6 months to complete

Tuition: $3,140.00, excluding books

Tuition is due at the time of registration, or students may set up a 6 month payment plan with the Portland Community College Business Office. For Information about the payment plan, please visit the PCC Payment Plan webpage.

The Instructor

Angela Loo is an Administrative Healthcare Professional and Nationally Certified Pharmacy Technician with over 12 years of experience in Pharmacy. She holds a Master’s Degree in Business, a Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Administration, and an Associate of Science degree. A PCC Alum, during her time as a student at PCC’s Sylvania Campus Angela was part of PCC’s ROOTS Program, and was honored to receive both the PCC Foundation Scholarship and Coca-Cola Scholarship Foundation awards. She is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa and Sigma Beta Delta honor societies.

Angela believes in teaching to the individual, to the extent possible within a group. Each student learns differently, so she incorporates a variety of mediums in coursework, including web-based instruction, lecture, hands-on labs, research, as well as music and other multimedia sources as learning tools. In her years as a student and teacher, both informal and formal, she has learned that playing to individual learning style preferences and strengths yield the most productive results.

She has trained, coached, instructed and mentored many on a wide variety of subjects. She has also coached many Pre-Pharmacy students in preparation for their Pharmacy School interviews and assisted both Technicians and Pharmacists in their written language and professional interactions. She has a talent for working with those for whom English is not a first language. She enjoys working with students of all ages, and understands the many demands of adult students trying to balance education with their personal responsibilities.


What should I do next to get into the training?

Follow the steps at the bottom of this page.

Can I use federal financial aid?

No, federal financial aid does not apply to non-credit courses. Students are required to pay, in full, once they are notified of their acceptance into the program.

Do I need to submit the original documentation of paperwork required in my application?

No. Please only submit copies of your original documents.

Do I have to submit to a background check or drug screening?

No, we do not require Pharmacy Technician applicants to submit to a background check or drug screening.

Will incomplete applications be accepted?

No, we will not accept incomplete applications.

How long does this course take?

The program is 2 terms in length. Part of the course is online, and part in an in-classroom environment.

Is there a clinical or internship available?

The Institute for Health Professionals does not provide clinicals or internships for the Pharmacy Technician program. However, PCC’s Career Pathways program does offer internship and clinical opportunities. The cost of Career Pathways’ clinical or internship options are in addition to the Institute for Health Professionals’ registration cost. You arrange this directly with Career Pathways.

Will this prepare me for a national certification exam?

Yes. Upon program completion, you will be prepared to sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board’s PTCB exam.

Upcoming Course Schedule

Don’t see the course you want? Contact us for more information.


Apply Today

Email a complete Application Packet before its deadline. Fall 2021 applications are accepted from August 1st through August 31st. Make sure you include the required documentation. Contact us to RSVP for the next information session.


For more information, please email Bem Hanamoto.

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